Propyl Gallate

What Is It?

Propyl Gallate is a fine white to light brown powder with a slightly bitter taste. In cosmetics and personal care products, Propyl Gallate is used in many product categories, including lipsticks, bath products, skin cleansing products, moisturizers, skin care products, makeup products, self-tanning products, and sunscreen and suntan products.

Why Is It Used?

Propyl Gallate prevents or slows deterioration of cosmetics and personal care products caused by chemical reactions with oxygen. Propyl Gallate inhibits the generation or accumulation of free radicals that may cause the deterioration of the product.

Scientific Facts

Propyl Gallate stabilizes vitamins, essential oils, perfumes, and fats and oils used in cosmetics and personal care products, all of which readily undergo oxidation.

Oxidation can occur due to the presence of heat, light, moisture, oxygen or microorganisms.

Oxidation can result in rancidity, color changes, viscosity changes and deterioration of active ingredients in finished products.

Propyl Gallate may be used alone, but is often used with other antioxidants.

Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed the safety of Propyl Gallate and determined that it was Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) for use as an antioxidant at a maximum concentration of 0.02% of the fat or oil content of the food. The safety of Propyl Gallate has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel.

The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Propyl Gallate was safe in the practices of use in cosmetics and personal care products at concentrations less than or equal to 0.1%.

CIR Safety Review: The CIR Expert Panel noted that little systemic toxicity was associated with oral or dermal exposure to Propyl Gallate. Rather than resulting in adverse effects, laboratory studies using oral exposure to Propyl Gallate showed preventive effects, including a reduction in cancer, birth defects and cavities of the teeth. These positive effects were consistent with the ability of Propyl Gallate to scavenge free radicals. 

Propyl Gallate has been shown to be a dermal sensitizer. Sensitization occurred at concentrations of Propyl Gallate of 1% and greater.

The CIR Expert Panel noted that in actual practice, cosmetics and personal care products were reported to contain Propyl Gallate at concentrations up to 0.1%.

Clinical experience by members of the CIR Expert Panel has not included observations of sensitization reactions from Propyl Gallate in cosmetics and personal care products. Because of the potential for sensitization, the CIR Expert Panel set a concentration limitation of 0.1% for Propyl Gallate use in cosmetic and personal care products.

FDA: Link to Code of Federal Regulations for Propyl Gallate…

Propyl Gallate may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:…

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives has established an Acceptable Daily Intake of 0-1.4 mg/kg body weight for Propyl Gallate.

More Scientific Information

Propyl Gallate is the n-propyl ester of gallic acid (3,4,5-trihydroxybenzoic acid). It functions as an antioxidant in cosmetics and personal care products. Antioxidants are ingredients employed in cosmetics to prevent or retard product spoilage from rancidity (or deterioration from reaction with oxygen). Antioxidants play a vital role in maintaining the quality, integrity and safety of cosmetic products. Typical cosmetic antioxidants include reducing agents and free radical scavengers.


Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration Food Ingredients and Packaging:

Food Contact Substances:…

Substances Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS):…

National Toxicology Program…

Search the Code of Federal Regulations

EU Cosmetics Inventory